Clean It Up | Simple Household Swaps For Sustainability

4 Simple Swaps to Reduce Household Waste

Sustainability (n): 

  • the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level.
  • avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.

Seems like a daunting task, right? Avoiding the depletion of natural resources – how does one even start to help with this global issue? This is a challenge I have given myself: become a better global citizen. What does this mean and how does it tie into sustainability? Being a better global citizen in short, is learning to be more mindful about how the choices you make (whether it be purchasing choices, food selection, or voting) might have a larger affect on society and other citizens of the world.

 

Now, becoming a better global citizen does not mean you have to quit your day job and become an activist overnight. There are very simple steps you can take today to work towards a more sustainable lifestyle which will in turn, reduce your household waste. That simple step will lead to a ripple effect that will help us take strides towards a more sustainable world. See, it’s easy! C’mon ya global citizen – let’s make these simple swaps!

 
 

Reusable Straws

Confession…

I am a straw connoisseur! I love using straws to drink my water throughout the day ( I feel like it ups my water intake). It should have occurred to me sooner that plastic straws, being a one time use and throw away type of plastic are not good for our environment.

Ditching this single use plastic is becoming the newest hot topic amongst lawmakers, and even a certain mega company who might serve up a large amount of coffee drinks with plastic straws…you guessed it, Starbucks! 

Starbucks recently announced that they are rolling out plans to remove plastic straws from all stores by the year 2020, following the recent ban of plastic straws passed in Seattle, WA. [read more here].

Nixing my plastic straws and replacing with stainless steel reusable straws was a no brainer! Some eye opening facts that made this switch even easier: 

  • Plastic straws are not easily recyclable, most do not even see a recycling bin in their lifetime
  • It can take up to 200 years for a plastic straw to decompose
  • In the U.S. we go through 500 million plastic straws per day (enough to circle the earth…twice)
  • Plastic straws are the 11th most found ocean trash

above statistics and more information can be found here

Instead of investing money in a bag of plastic straws at the grocery store, I put my dimes toward a pack of stainless steel reusables and have yet to look back! I’ve linked my favorite option here, but you really can’t go wrong with these: affordable, reusable, chic, and easy to clean…what more could you ask for?

Reusable Paper Towels

Close second to my straw addiction…my paper towel obsession. We found ourselves buying multiple rolls of paper towels at the grocery store each week, due to my need to have our surfaces wiped down and as clean as possible. Ever stop and think what happens to those towels after your through with them? Or the impact on the environment. Here are some fast facts for ya:

  • 13 billion pounds of paper towels are sent the landfill in the U.S. every day
  • Decomposing paper towels can produce methane gas which is the leading cause of global warming 
  • Paper towel waste is one of the largest contributors to landfill waste

Here are some helpful links for more info:

This switch was a no brainer for me. I had heard about reusable paper towels and how they can ultimately end up saving you money in the long run as one roll can last up to 6 months! 

I’ve linked my current favorite reusable paper towel option here. You can wash these towels and reuse again, plus they’re made from bamboo fiber making them more environmentally friendly and extra sturdy for all your cleaning needs. 

Cloth Napkins

If you’ve been following along, it’s no secret by now that one-time use papers and plastics are no bueno for our environment. Another easy way to combat this waste is by switching out your household napkins to cloth napkins that you can wash and reuse.

Remember all the waste we talked about paper towels creating? Well, paper napkins definitely contribute to those statistics.

Another plus of reusable cloth napkins…they get the job done better and look cute while doing it! I’ve linked some favorite options here. 

Stainless Steel or Glass Water Bottles

Rounding out the pack of simple swaps is a reusable water bottle in either glass or stainless. Why not a reusable plastic? Plastic water bottles can hold more bacteria than stainless or glass. Wear and tear that plastic water bottles go through by simple reuse and washing can cause breakdown of the material including thinning of the plastic, or visible cracks. Bacteria can sneak into those cracks and hang out..well until you take a drink of course, then the bacteria jumps ship into your system! Uh, no thank you! 

Using reusable stainless or glass water bottles helps to cut down on our plastic waste, and can even save you around $255/year. Savings? Yes, puh-leezeee! I personally, would be truly lost without my reusable stainless steel water bottle, it keeps me hydrated on the go and I don’t have to worry about stopping into a gas station or convenience store and forking over $3 for one of our most basic needs…water. 

Looking for some reusable goodness of your own? Here are some of my favorite (and stylish) reusable water bottle options. 

Making more sustainable choices does not have to be hard or daunting. Don’t feel like you need to go out and start composting all of your trash or growing your own food overnight. All it takes is making a few informed choices to help us make steps towards a more sustainable way of living.

The 4 swaps outlined in this blog posts are items we all use daily and are very easy to switch out to a more sustainable option. So why not start here? Do you have a favorite swap you have made the change to in your house? I would love to hear! 

Looking for other ways to make safe swaps? Check out these blog articles:

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